It all came together for Cedar Cliff on Friday afternoon.
Which was bad timing for Shippensburg.
The Colts played their best softball game of the season and surprised the Lady Hounds 5-2 in a non-league contest, thanks to a three-run top of the first and a very steady defense.
"Records can be deceiving," Ship coach Mike Peters said, after his team dropped its first game after four wins, while Cedar Cliff is now 3-5. "But they have played good competition."
Colts coach Bob Bitting said, "This team today was the one I've been expecting to see. We've just been giving runs away - I think teams have scored about 100 on us so far. It's been ugly."
The play of the game happened in the bottom of the fourth, with Cedar Cliff holding a 3-2 lead. Singles by Rachel Kline, Amber Orndorff and Courtney Coy loaded the sacks, and with cleanup hitter Morgan Fetter at the plate, things were looking good for the Hounds.
Fetter ripped a hard grounder up the middle, but it was snagged by pitcher Avery Winchell, who threw home for an out, and catcher Emma Midgarden's throw to first completed a perfectly executed double play. Ship never threatened again, after stranding six runners in scoring position to that point.
Peters said, "With the bases loaded and one of our best hitters up, we were in good shape. Morgan hit it hard, but they got out of it, and that was pretty deflating."
Winchell, a freshman who went the distance (8-hitter, 1 walk, 3 strikeouts), said, "We've had kind of a rough week with a lot of bumps, but we cleaned it up today. It was good to get the lead early because I know if I don't do my best we have a little leeway."
The Colts scored three times in the top of the first inning, with the runs scoring on Maddie Enrico's double, a bloop infield single by Tiffany White and a sacrifice fly by Jenna Spangenberg. Shippensburg came right back with two in the bottom of the inning when Cedar Cliff made its only error, bringing home Orndorff and Coy, who had singled.
"I thought we could have gotten out of that first inning giving up zero or one run," Peters said, "and then we couldn't hit our way out of it."